An inspiration

It’s a funny thing when you’re not busy at your job. Your mind is at rest, it’s free for ideas and it’s open to inspiration. This is what I want for life!

I spent the majority of my week off seeking this inspiration. I have been reading a book by Tracey Kidder called Mountains beyond mountains. It’s a biography about a doctor who has a vision:to solve global health problems-my natural interest!

From Harvard he goes to Haiti, curing infectious diseases in the poor communities. This is where I am up to so far in the book, but from here he makes his way to Peru, Cuba and Russia.

This paragraph caught my eye: 

Yes I could have typed out this paragraph, but I thought it would be more real to have a photograph instead, taken by my phone!

It’s an excerpt of what the famous physician Virchow once said, and I tried to incorporate this into what I want to achieve. I want to be a “natural attorney” of the poor. That’s my inspiration. What’s yours?

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Call of duty 

As I head back to London for my week off, I reflect on last weeks events. It’s been a weird, “set back” week, as I like to call it, where things haven’t turned out quite as I planned or hoped. Last week when I went back to Leeds, I was working on my laptop. Now going back to London again, I am unable to complete my work. My laptop was stolen in the robbery, and I’ve fallen behind.

On Saturday, we decided to head into town and invest in a couple of laptops. As soon as we parked the car in the mall car park, we came out of the car to hear people screaming ahead of us. From a distance I could see a tall looking guy looking down, and it looked like he was stamping hard on the ground. This happened in front of mothercare, and my heart feared the worst. I thought he was beating up a child.

We ran straight to the scene…my boyfriend way ahead of me. I was fearful as we approached, as we had no idea what was happening. All we could see was a gathering of people in front of the store, looking horrified. We got to the scene to find a teenager lying on the floor, unconscious, with his face covered in blood.

We approached him whilst the crowd watched us. I stabilised him whilst my boyfriend spoke to the paramedic down a passerby’s phone, who made the phone call before we arrived at the scene. More people were joining the crowd, who were almost telling us off-

“Do you know basic life support?”

“Don’t you have to put him in the recovery position?”.

It was quite obvious that they didn’t believe that we were doctors, we both spent 6 months in A&E and we knew what we were doing. My boyfriend had to intervene-

“Look, we’re both doctors, I’m on the phone with the paramedics, please give us some space”.

Then they finally listened to us and backed away. We stabilised this teenager and though confused, he slowly gained consciousness. He reeked of alcohol and had a head injury, we knew he needed a CT scan. The paramedics came who took over, followed by the police. We left the scene at the appropriate time and continued on.

Why did I tell you about this? Was it to add onto the misery of our week? Well that’s one reason. I like to blog about the good and the bad, and I find it helpful to just be open about life’s ups and downs. However the main reason why I wrote about this, was to reflect on how proud I was of my boyfriend. Not just because of how we stabilised this teenager as a team (anyone with ABCDE training could do this), not just how he addressed the crowd in a calm manner…but how he approached the scene in the first place. He ran at full speed and looked fearless. I, on the other hand, was afraid of what was ahead of me, and yes I was afraid that he was going to approach the attacker. I asked him if he was scared, to which he said no, he wasn’t, and I believe him. I hadn’t seen such bravery of this nature and I was so proud to be with him. This was our call of duty, and we could hold our heads up high together.

Three acts of kindness

Earlier this week, I faced my worst experience of the year…our house was burgled.

I received a phone call from my boyfriend at 6.30pm, during my “end of rotation” meeting with my supervisor. I thought it was a little strange that he was calling me at this time. “I’m sure I told him I was here?”, I said to myself. I very quickly picked up the phone (having apologised to my supervisor): 

 “Hey can I call you back? I’m just having my meeting..”

“No baby please don’t hang up, I think we’ve been robbed”.

For a few moments I didn’t say anything. I was trying to process in my mind what he had just said…I found it that hard to believe, that all I could say was “What?”many a time.

My supervisor heard this frantic conversation, realised this was for real and let me go early. I got home to find my boyfriend waiting for me in the car. He called the police and I sat in the car with him, heater on full (this happened to be the coldest day of the year). We hardly spoke, we just wanted to get into our home.

First act of kindness: Calling the consultant on call.

I knew I wouldn’t come into work the next day. Not only did we need time to get over the grief of what had just happened, but there was a lot of stuff we needed to sort out..talking to home insurance, getting a locksmith etc, stuff neither of us were familiar with. I therefore decided to call the consultant oncall (something we’re supposed to do if we know we can’t come into work) and told him that we’d been robbed. He reacted the same way I did when I got that phone call, he couldn’t believe it. But his tone completely changed in an instant: one minute he was my consultant, and the next minute he became my friend. In addition to giving me lots of advice down the phone, he sent me a message the next morning, asking if we both ok and offered his full support, for if we needed him in anyway. I found it so refreshing to see this other persona of him and was most grateful.

Second act of kindness: Letting my team know.

Normally I would have kept this to myself, I would have let my team find out the next day, the reason why I didn’t come into work. However we were already understaffed this week and I was feeling guilty-I thought I should let them know sooner rather than later. I sent them all a message on our group, and the support I received was immense. All sending their wishes and offers of help, I felt so much better, knowing that we had their support. From colleagues they were already my friends, but from friends they became family.

Third act of kindness: Speaking to my ward consultant.

I forced myself to go back to work today, to try to get back into normality again. In the morning handover (where the night doctor tells us about the patients they saw overnight), the team immediately asked how I was doing…and I told them what happened.

Later that day, I ran into one of my regular consultants, one I work closely with on the ward. He could see I was looking sad and upon enquiring, I told him what happened. He was so shocked to hear my story, and related to a similar story in his family. He later told me that if there was anything I needed, I could always call him. By the way, he wasn’t supposed to be in work today. He was offering his help, whilst he was off. No one has ever done that for me in my career so far.

Whilst I write this blog on my phone (they stole my laptop), I reflect on everything that happened. I’m grateful that we are safe and I’m grateful that they didn’t take our treasured things or memorabilia. I am thankful to my friends (and new found friends) for their support in this ordeal and I realised that people who know you, will go out of their way and help you, even if you don’t expect it. The night before my meeting I was restless, I was nervous about how my meeting would go. I never expected to get robbed that day. If there’s one thing I learnt, it’s that things in life are never what you expect them to be.